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State Aid

State aid: New guidelines on rescuing and restructuring aid adopted



The EFTA Surveillance Authority has adopted new guidelines on State aid for rescuing and restructuring non-financial undertakings in difficulty. The guidelines correspond to similar rules adopted by the European Commission.

 The adoption of these new guidelines is one of the final key elements of the wider reform of state aid control under way since 2012.

 Under the guidelines, aid to companies undergoing financial difficulties may be granted temporarily for a period of 6 months ('rescue aid'). Beyond this period the aid must either be reimbursed or a restructuring plan must be notified to the Authority for the aid to be approved as 'restructuring aid'.

 The plan must ensure that:

  • the long-term viability of a company is restored without further state support,
  • that the distortions of competition induced by the state support are addressed by specific measures, and
  • that the company contributes to the costs of restructuring.

 Restructuring aid may be granted only once over a period of ten years, to prevent companies that are not viable being kept artificially alive through public support.

 In addition, there are new rules allowing temporary restructuring support for small and medium-sized enterprises. The new rules favour measures that are less distortive to competition, such as loans and guarantees, over structural aid such as direct grants or capital injections. Such state funding can now be granted for at most 18 months on the basis of a simplified restructuring plan.

 The guidelines will be in force as from today. They apply only to non-financial firms in difficulty; a separate set of rules is in place for banks and other financial institutions.

 Relevant documents:

 For further information, please contact:

Mr. Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187

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